Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with a group of House GOP members in Kyiv to ask for more military aid amid growing reluctance within the Republican party to continue providing weaponry.
Indeed, some opponents of more support for the war suggested that the Ukrainian leader has “threatened” the US over supplying more aid for the war.
Zelensky sat down with House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and four other GOP members in the Ukranian capital and said he would send a wish list of weapons he believes could help end the war with Russia, including F-16 fighter jets and long-range guided ATACMS missiles.
McCaul said the Biden administration and National Security Council are still at odds on “how fast and what weapons” to give to Ukraine.
“But I’m seeing increasing momentum towards getting the artillery and the planes in,” McCaul told reporters in Kyiv. “And in any event, we can start training the pilots right now so they’re ready.”
The congressional delegation visit came one day after President Joe Biden pledged $500 million in new aid during a surprise visit to Kyiv on Monday, although Biden said Ukraine doesn’t need F-16s “for now” in a recent interview.
“He needs tanks,” the president said. “He needs artillery. He needs air defense, including another [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System]. There’s things he needs now that we’re sending him to put him in a position to be able to make gains this spring and this summer going into the fall.”
““He doesn’t need F-16s now,” Biden added. “There is no basis upon which there is a rationale, according to our military, now, to provide F-16s.”
Meanwhile, Americans are becoming more divided on how much support the U.S. should be offering Ukraine, recent polls suggest.
A new Fox News survey found that 50% think the U.S should continue supporting Ukraine until it wins the war against Russia while 46% think the support should be time limited.
Those numbers dropped since last month when a different Fox News poll found 63% of those interviewed supported ongoing aid.
Zelensky warned the U.S. during a Friday press conference of what he saw as the ramifications of pulling back on military support in response to reporter’s question about the growing number of Americans who believe the U.S. is providing too much military aid.
“I can tell them one thing: If they do not change their opinion, if they do not understand us, if they do not support Ukraine, they will lose NATO, they will lose the clout of the United States, they will lose the leadership position they are enjoying in the world,” Zelensky said.
Some conservative commentators used social media to slam Zelensky for his warning, which they branded a “threat” to elicit more aid.
Among those in the Republican party calling to reduce the flow of aid to Ukraine are Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who called Biden’s recent trip to Kyiv “insulting” and proof that he “chose Ukraine over America.”
Amid increasing reluctance in his party ranks, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) gave a fiery rallying cry for the U.S. and Western allies to renew support for Ukraine and against Russia’s “thuggery” in Helsinki on Friday.
“If Putin were given a green light to destabilize Europe, invading and killing at will, the long-term cost to the United States in both dollars and security risks would be astronomically higher than the minuscule fraction of our GDP that we have invested in Ukraine’s defense thus far,” McConnell said in the statement.
With Post Wires
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